Glyphosate application increased catabolic activity of gram-negative bacteria but impaired soil fungal community

  • Yehao Liu
  • Yongchun Li
  • Xiaomei Hua
  • Karin Müller
  • Hailong Wang
  • Tongyi Yang
  • Qiong Wang
  • Xin Peng
  • Mengcheng Wang
  • Yanjun Pang
  • Jinliang Qi
  • Yonghua Yang
Research Article


Glyphosate is a non-selective organophosphate herbicide that is widely used in agriculture, but its effects on soil microbial communities are highly variable and often contradictory, especially for high dose applications. We applied glyphosate at two rates: the recommended rate of 50 mg active ingredient kg−1 soil and 10-fold this rate to simulate multiple glyphosate applications during a growing season. After 6 months, we investigated the effects on the composition of soil microbial community, the catabolic activity and the genetic diversity of the bacterial community using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), community level catabolic profiles (CLCPs), and 16S rRNA denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Microbial biomass carbon (Cmic) was reduced by 45%, and the numbers of the cultivable bacteria and fungi were decreased by 84 and 63%, respectively, under the higher glyphosate application rate. According to the PLFA analysis, the fungal biomass was reduced by 29% under both application rates. However, the CLCPs showed that the catabolic activity of the gram-negative (G−) bacterial community was significantly increased under the high glyphosate application rate. Furthermore, the DGGE analysis indicated that the bacterial community in the soil that had received the high glyphosate application rate was dominated by G− bacteria. Real-time PCR results suggested that copies of the glyphosate tolerance gene (EPSPS) increased significantly in the treatment with the high glyphosate application rate. Our results indicated that fungi were impaired through glyphosate while G− bacteria played an important role in the tolerance of microbiota to glyphosate applications.


Soil microbial community PLFA Biolog DGGE Glyphosate 

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1676_MOESM1_ESM.docx (284 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 283 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yehao Liu
    • 1
  • Yongchun Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaomei Hua
    • 3
  • Karin Müller
    • 4
  • Hailong Wang
    • 5
  • Tongyi Yang
    • 1
  • Qiong Wang
    • 1
  • Xin Peng
    • 1
  • Mengcheng Wang
    • 1
  • Yanjun Pang
    • 1
  • Jinliang Qi
    • 1
  • Yonghua Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.NJU-NJFU Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang A & F UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Nanjing Institute of Environmental SciencesMinistry of Environmental Protection AgencyNanjingChina
  4. 4.The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research LimitedRuakura Research CentreHamiltonNew Zealand
  5. 5.School of Environment and Chemical EngineeringFoshan UniversityFoshanChina

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